Meet the Essential Skills Training and Recruitment Team
Leadership and Training Team
Our Highly skilled leadership team and trainers have all come from roles in the community sector where there roles are diverse and required a vast amount of skills and knowledge. We are proud to have a great team of passionate individuals who know exactly what it’s like to work in the sector and how to best deliver the training to ensure our students succeed in their chosen career.
Meet the team:
Julie Fletcher - Director
I started Essential Skills Training & Recruitment in 2010 passionate about providing the best quality training that we could offer students and employers. Being a Registered Nurse with experience in both acute settings and residential care, mainly in education and management roles. I worked in group homes for clients with mental illness and went on to be the CEO of the Hunter Women’s Centre, where I learnt so much about the diverse community services sector. I know the importance of having staff with quality skills and experiences.
What inspires me is the knowledge that what we do supports people in multiple ways, we change lives for the better. An individual finding a career or a career pathway and helping employers to meet their needs is a major highlight of what we do, but most of all, I believe we affect thousands of people's lives for the better, due to the services they receive from our prior students.
Leisa Harrison - CEO
I have been working in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Industry for the past 10 years. My background is in Compliance and I have various management and Vocational Education and Training qualifications. I am a busy mum of 3 beautiful girls and I thoroughly enjoy my job and the team of wonderfully talented people I work with. I am inspired by the passionate and selfless people making a difference in the world today.
What inspires You? …..The most rewarding part of our business is assisting people to realise their potential and gain employment in the community services industry. I believe that if you do well by others and help them succeed in life positive things will be drawn to you naturally.
Dee Cooke - Senior Manager
Over the years I have had the fortunate ability to have a diverse career where I have been able to progress and advance in many roles starting in hospitality to managing a Hotel/Resort to a Regional liaison Manager for Employment Plus to being a manager for a large 142 Bed aged care facility to a Senior manager here at Essential Skills.
What inspires you? being someone that loves to learn working at Essential Skills Training and Recruitment gives me that opportunity not only to support individuals to reach their goals but also to be surrounded by passionate like minded people that also have the same goals and inspirations
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be….. helping someone somewhere! In what capacity I’m not sure but I do know that I love seeing people succeed and reach their goals!
Kirsty Allan - Training Manager
As a qualified Registered Nurse I have worked in clinical positions, clinical education, Community care Coordinator, community dementia nurse & ACAT assessor as well as training for the past 10 years.
What inspires you? .....Enabling people to achieve something they thought they couldn’t do. It makes you feel great that you have made a difference in someone’s life. To see people grow within themselves is pretty inspiring.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be….. I would definitely be working in the community ensuring people’s needs were met and could stay at home as long as possible. Though… I do like the idea of being a flamenco dancer.
Rebecca Webber - Trainer and Assessor
After completing an Applied Science degree in Leisure and Health I have predominantly worked in the disability services field in a broad range of areas such as general and employment support work, then Service Management (both of a large service and shared living group homes) , Person Centred Planning and Program Design and Quality Monitoring. My key interests in the field are augmentative and alternative communication and the impact technology and social media can have on the lives of people with a disability.
Apart from disability I also have experience in designing leisure programs for people with acquired brain injury, in palliative care and for those recovering from stroke.
What inspires me: It may seem a little unusual but I’m inspired by words and stories. I have always had a fascination with words and how they can evoke emotion, whether written in a story or a poem, sung in a song or used to motivate in powerful speeches.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... If I wasn’t a trainer I would be: Oh so many choices! Ultimately I would love to be a book editor, specialising in crime novels. They are my favourite genre to read and would love to find more that I can’t solve before halfway through the book! I’d love to be paid to read.
Nicole Dawson - Trainer and Assessor
An experienced Registered Nurse with almost 30 years in the industry. My career includes working in and managing aged care facilities, wound consultancy and emergency nursing. I have worked as part of the Aged Services Emergency Team in Maitland Hospital. Currently, I'm working as a clinical educator and trainer and assessor in the VET sector.
What inspires me: I am inspired by people who live their lives with purpose and without judgement of others.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... a novelist!
Helen Barnett - Trainer and Assessor
As an experienced Registered Nurse and trainer and assessor I have worked in a number of areas throughout the community sector providing well being and support to those in need. I enjoy all aspects of my nursing and training career and love my daily interactions with both client and student.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... doing my other love in life and that is nursing.
Tess Ryan - Trainer and Assessor
I am committed to supporting people with a disability, and to assisting the support workers of tomorrow to provide a high standard of care that is both person-centred and meaningful. My experience in this field spans over thirteen years, and ranges from direct support in accommodation, day programs and community settings, to team leading and case management. I have also been employed in the Out-of-Home Care sector as a foster care recruiter, trainer and assessor.
I am a proud social worker and have never lost sight of what I intended to achieve in my career: quite simply, I wanted to help others. My role as a trainer with Essential Skills is certainly providing me with the opportunity to do this, through supporting students to gain valuable skills, knowledge and qualifications.
What inspires you? Seeing people who are resilient and can overcome challenges as they work towards their goals.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... any (or all) of the following: a professional comedian, a non-fiction writer or the operator of a doggy day-care centre.
Vicki Matthews - Trainer and Assessor
I have worked in aged and community care now for approximately 30 yrs. As an experienced Diversional Therapist, I enjoy training others in the importance the importance of leisure and health.
I have presented at Diversional therapy workshops for Redleaf College and at conferences for The Diversional Therapy Association and Alzheimer’s Tasmania on using the principles of Montessori with People with Dementia. I have recently completed my Bachelor of Dementia Care.
What inspires you? Watching students grow from being apprehensive when they first join a group and then being confident once they have completed their training.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... Working in aged care in some capacity. I enjoy being there for the elderly and assisting them to reach their maximum capacity whether that be physically, mentally or spiritually.
Bronwyn Colley - Trainer and Assessor
I commenced in the Aged and Community Care Industry in 2001 as a Cert III Assistant in Nursing Trainee with Catholic Care. In 2004 I completed my Cert IV in Aged Care and commenced my new role as trainer and assessor for Cert III AIN’s in CCA.
I have a degree in Health Ageing and Community Care and took up a new role as Manager of Chiara Respite Cottage where I gained valuable experience in management and the community sector, also gaining Certificate IV in Frontline Management.
What inspires you..... Good people doing good things
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... Working with people with dementia / carers, volunteering with homeless, beach bum.
Sonia Sims - Trainer and Assessor
I have worked in the aged care industry for approximately 10 years.
I had a terminally ill mother and wanted to be well prepared for when it was time to care for her so I went and studied Certificate III in Aged Care & Home and Community Care.
I have a vast amount of experience in residential facilities and home and community care working as a team leader & physio aide. I also have experience in kitchen, laundry and cleaning operations.
What inspires you? .....Helping and supporting people to achieve their goals.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... Working in an aged care facility.
Jo Hawkins - Trainer and Assessor
My passion and chosen area of work is supporting people with disability and I have extensive experience in this field, working in large residential, community group homes, on a behaviour support team and various roles in management.
I am very grateful to work with the many talented people at Essential Skills and to continue to provide training that meets the needs of the modern workforce.
What inspires you? .....Supporting and empowering people to grow and achieve their goals.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... a multi-millionaire and invest in houses (do them up and sell them).
Drew Denholm - Trainer and Assessor
I commenced in the Disability Sector during the time when ‘if you look the part, welcome aboard’. I was not set onto the yellow brick road that consists of education, knowledge and wisdom of the industry, which currently is a fundamental requirement. I have spent several years in the Disability Sector gaining both knowledge and practical skills focusing on behaviours of concern with autism as well as how to meet and support the needs of people with a diverse range of disabilities.
The experiences and mentorship (from previous organization) and the knowledge of the industry has led me to Essential skills. My purpose as a trainer and assessor would be to bridge the gap between organizations and employees that would result in the best support for the clients.
What inspires you? Honesty to oneself and transparency in actions.
If I wasn’t a trainer I would..... maaaaybe pursue Zumba!
We couldn't do without our wonderful administrative team. Our administration staff all have a great passion for providing quality customer service. They are always welcoming to anyone who walks through the door or calls the office, and will go above and beyond to help our students and employers. Our roles are varied, and include providing information on courses, assisting students to find the right qualification and enrol, supporting them throughout their training and ensuring they are issued with their certificate quickly after completion. We also provide support to employers by providing them with regular updates on their staff members’ progress throughout training. We pride ourselves on our product knowledge, knowing that we can give people all the information they need to make decisions about their career paths.
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